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Rescue service conducts training drill to prepare for ice-melting season


What is the first sunshine for some, for others it’s a lot of work.


Rescuers are getting ready for spring season, when, as per tradition, dozens of unlucky fishermen balance between life and death. 

Today all stations of the Kurortnyi area and their colleagues from the Lomonosova worked on their actions. Quadrocycles were used along with traditional hover ships and aerobots. 

Nikolay Rastvortsev put on a hydro costume and took a dive into the icy water.

Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: “A snowmobile fell under the ice, which resulted I one injured and one dead. This is one of the scenarios played out by rescuers in the Gulf of Finland. Everything’s very realistic – a hover ship is rushing to the rescue at full speed”

The whole rescue operation takes minutes. This fan of underwater ice fishing is lucky – his signal flare was spotted on time. But his friend’s body had to be recovered by divers. A small catch cost him his life.

Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: “The injured are played by professionals during such drills. Rescuers are descending in special costumes, which allow one to stay in ice-cold water for 4 hours. In real life, the arithmetic is far more severe – without proper equipment, a fisherman would not last more than 15 minutes in ice water”

Rescuers say that bravery of those who take to the ice for fishing is incomparable to the state of shock when a man suddenly finds himself in ice water. 

Andrey Denisov, head of rescue station #22: “We had a case once, when we rescued a skier who fell into the water. He was so scared that he was climbing on a hover bot wearing his skis. We told him “take off you skis”, but he carried on climbing, so scared he was. Its indescribable”

Thickness of ice is diminishing, the number of ice fishers isn’t. This proportion is particularly acute this winter. Almost thousand distress calls, 150 saved lives – and that’s only the official statistics for the last 3 months. 

Valeriy Pekarev, head of St. Petersburg rescue service: “As of now, going on the ice is not prohibited. Its divided into 2 parts – ban was supposed to be in place in March. But you can see – March hasn’t come yet, but the ice is already too thin”.

This hover ship can reach a maximum speed of 100 km/h. Steering it is quite difficult. There is a steering wheel and a throttle handle, there are no breaks. The ship stops by taking the foot of the gas. Rescuers also have aerobots in their arsenal. And this winter they tested quadrocycles. All handy tools to be able to rescue lives in time.